This week we were lucky enough to check out beautiful The Gallery Grill at Hart House in The University of Toronto and cook with Chef Suzanne Baby.
Over the years, club has been lucky enough to cook with Suzanne four times before – the first time we made choux pastry, the second visit was a ravioli-making extravaganza, third time we made soufflés and in the spring we made two soups together.
The setting inside Hart House is very “Harry-Potter-esque” and it’s always great to see the boys’ reactions when they walk through the building to get to the restaurant. There’s definitely a lot of the “WOW” factor!
In terms of cooking… Soufflé! Choux Pastry! Ricottoa! Hear that? All “Meant to be difficult” (according to some) recipes and certainly not dishes many people would think about tackling with a dozen (or more) boys in a tiny kitchen in just over an hour… But Suzanne is not “most people”. She is exceptional in that she (as most of the chefs we work with) shares my high expectations of the boys and is always up for the challenge of cooking something “above and beyond” in an hour!
This week she chose to make ricotta gnocchi – a Gallery Grill special, so I can’t post the recipe – which was a wonderful hands-on recipe that kept everyone busy… We measured flour…
As a recipe writer working on my first book, this was a huge learning moment for me. The importance of writing a recipe to say precisely what you mean as well as the irony of the boys paying such close attention to a recipe (not always the case in, say, French class) was not lost on me. I always think we need more cooking in the classroom because everyone does pay such close attention!
(so, I’d have written “Use a wooden spoon or sturdy rubber spatula to combine the flour with the wet ingredients”)
Once we’d incorporated all the flour (and washed our hands), we got to forming our gnocchi. Suzanne showed the boys how to form them by scooping up a bit of the dough with their hands and using a spoon to form little logs…
Thanks to Chef Suzanne and her team for welcoming us into the kitchens yet again (on the day when you were hosting a big dinner too!). The boys had a blast, learned a wonderful, easy and tasty recipe and got to cook in a pretty darned cool kitchen! We are so lucky 🙂